Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday called for taking the sexual health services out of clinics to adolescents to deal with the increasing problem of teenage pregnancy and other adolescent health issues.
The Union Minister was giving the inaugural address at a workshop titled "Investing in Adolescent Health: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend" jointly organised by Observer Research Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Harsh Vardhan, who addressed the meeting via video as he had to participate in the Clean Ganga programme in Kanpur, said, "increasing teenage pregnancy and other adolescent health issues is a big concern for the government."
He stressed on the need to invest in making adolescents healthy to harness the demographic dividend which India is blessed with.
He pointed out that adolescent age is a critical phase for human potential. Making investments in this age group will be the best way to leverage India's advantage of a young population, and to realise the demographic dividend.
However, the ongoing levels of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in certain pockets across the country is a cause for great concern, and taking sexual and reproductive health services out of the clinics to India's adolescent population will be the way forward, he pointed out.
With 253 million adolescents, India comprises of a high proportion of individuals in a transient phase of life that requires nutrition, education, counselling and guidance to ensure their development into healthy adults. This group is also susceptible to several avoidable health problems such as like early and unintended pregnancy, unsafe sex leading to STI/HIV/AIDS, nutritional disorders like malnutrition, anemia and obesity, alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse, mental health concerns, injuries and violence.